Khulna Titans and Rangpur Riders will clash in Eliminator at Dhaka in 2017 Bangladesh Premier League on Friday. The winner of this match will play Qualifier 2 against the loser of Qualifier 1 match between Comilla Victorians and Dhaka Dynamites. Hence, it’s a knockout match and the losing team from Eliminator will go home. Hence, Titans and Riders will come out all guns blazing in the Eliminator. Cricwizz takes a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams ahead of Khulna Titans vs Rangpur Riders clash.
Khulna Titans strengths:
Bankable all-rounders: Titans have few efficient all-rounders in Carlos Brathwaite and skipper Mahmudullah. Brathwaite has played few useful cameos lower down the order, the best one being his 29-ball 54 against Dhaka Dynamites, but in a losing cause. He has also taken five wickets so far with his medium pace bowling. Mahmudullah has led from the front, scoring 292 runs in 11 matches. But more than the runs, it’s the timely execution of those knocks in pressure situations that have come in handy for the team. Their performances will be crucial to Titans’ chances in the Eliminator.
Abu Jayed: The Bangladesh medium-pacer has done exceedingly well in the tournament, taking 18 wickets @ 19.11 in 11 matches on the slow surfaces of the sub-continent. He is the second highest wicket-taker in the tournament so far. Titans will be banking on Jayed to give them the early breakthrough in the Eliminator.
Inconsistency: Titans have blown hot and cold throughout the tournament. They have been extremely ruthless in one match and mediocre in the next. They have been the most unpredictable team in the tournament. It will be difficult to write-off Titans as they can be extremely competitive on their day.
Rangpur Riders strengths:
Good skills across all departments: Rangpur Riders have a good mix of players – both local and foreign cricketers. They have two of their batsmen – Ravi Bopara and Mohammad Mithun — among the top run-getters in the tournament so far. They have the reliable Mashrafe Mortaza as skipper who has taken 13 wickets in 11 matches so far. They also have two destructive batsmen in Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum who are yet to touch super form so far. They might choose the play-offs to explode.
Unstable opening combination: Riders have not zeroed down on any stable opening pair in this tournament and have chopped and changed the combination almost every game. It has not allowed the players to settle down. They have tried combination such as Brendon McCullum-Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles-Adam Lyth, Johnson Charles-Ziaur Rahman, among others. The inconsistency at the top has hurt the middle-order. And hence, it might come to hurt them in the play-offs.
Prediction: Khulna Titans and Rangpur have won one each against each other in the tournament so far. Hence, they will start fresh in the Eliminator. Titans have slight edge as they have in-form players compared to Riders. Mahmudullah has led Titans from the front and would look to inspire them with another brilliant show. Rangpur Riders have flattered to deceive despite boasting some of the best foreign talent in McCullum, Gayle and Bopara. Hence, they might struggle in the Eliminator. Our vote goes to Khulna Titans in this Eliminator.
Possible winner: Khulna Titans